Two Visions of Government Federalist Vs Anti Federalist Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

ratification of the U.S. Constitution pushed the nation to extremes: on the one hand were the Federalists, led by men like Alexander Hamilton and James Madison -- men who promoted the idea of a central government (the reasons for which they enumerated at length in their "Federalist" papers); on the other hand were the Anti-Federalists, led by men like Robert Yates and George Clinton (Yates being the presumptive author of the pseudonymously penned Anti-Federalist papers under the name of "Brutus"). Each side had its own view, not just of government, but of humanity and the way in which political society should be organized. This paper will present the underlying fundamental perspective of each side and show why I would have sided with the Anti-Federalists.

The Federalist plan to organize the federal government was to make it capable of overriding the individual autonomy and authority of the individual states, which the Federalists viewed as being potential threats to harmony and unity in the nation. Hamilton, writing in Federalist No. 6 and No. 7, described how states, when left to their own devices, will inevitably produce "dissensions between" themselves and engage in "domestic factions and convulsions" that would cause the unity of the nation to be destroyed just as soon as it had begun (Federalist No. 6). The fear-mongering Federalist goes on to conclude in Federalist No. 7 that without a strong central government based on a strong Constitution that favors federal authority, the individual states would cause the U.S. to become a pawn of foreign influences: "America, if not connected at all, or only by the feeble tie of a simple league, offensive and defensive, would, by the operation of such jarring alliances, be gradually entangled in all the pernicious labyrinths of European politics and wars" (Federalist No. 7). Thus, according to the Federalists, the federal government should have more authority than that of the individual states. The government should be representative but not divided or merely "loosely joined" by way of a confederation. In short, the Federalists wanted a Constitution that favored one central government over many, smaller state governments.

The Anti-Federalist position was that a strong central government would "lead to the subversion of liberty ... [to] despotism, or, what is worse, a tyrranic aristocracy" (Brutus No. 1). The Constitution proposed by the Federalists would allow such a government to come into being -- one that would…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Brutus No. 1. (1787). Retrieved from http://www.constitution.org/afp/brutus01.htm

Brutus No. 3. (1787). Retrieved from http://www.constitution.org/afp/brutus03.htm

Federalist No. 6 (n.d.). Retrieved from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed06.asp

Federalist No. 7 (n.d.). Retrieved from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed07.asp

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